Andrea Hollander

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When You Hear His Name


long after you have claimed

it wouldn’t mean anything, you know

you have found the one name

you can never say,

never even bear to hear

even if it is now someone else’s name,

a neighbor’s child

and his mother snapping it at him

like a whip.

You try to make that sound just

a white sheet

the wind slaps

on the taut line. But you become

that line

holding everything above

the earth, stretched

house to post and back

again to house. Or you are

the post, placed

only to hold

the laundry up, keep

the line straight. You are not

the house, not a thing

someone can enter.

from House Without a Dreamer (Story Line Press, 1993)

Winner of the 1993 Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize

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